The women of Netflix’s wrestling dramedy Glow, and the fictional show-within-a-show G.L.O.W., end their second season technically getting everything they want. While their cable ruler K-DTV owns the television rights to everyone’s G.L.O.W. characters — meaning they can’t sell the freshly canceled series to a new cable outlet — the women are allowed to continue performing as those characters in live shows. New character Ray (Saturday Night Live alum Horatio Sanz), a strip club mogul with a stake in a Las Vegas club, realises there is a loophole to exploit here: If the women can keep doing their G.L.O.W. live show, why not do it in Sin City? “Vegas is where the money is,” Ray tells the women, offering them the chance to be his venue's headliners.
So, in the last scene of finale “Every Potato Has A Receipt,” Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), and the rest of the crew get on a bus and head to Las Vegas. This should be a happy moment full of promise, but there is an air of dread hanging over the entire cast. If there is a Glow season 3, Sin City isn’t going to be a cakewalk for the gorgeous ladies of wrestling.
To believe that, you simply need to realise which movie influences “Potato” most.
While watching Ruth come to terms with her big move to Vegas, it’s impossible not to think of the infamous closing scene in The Graduate. In the iconic 1967 film, Dustin Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock crashes his ex-girlfriend Elaine’s (Katharine Ross) wedding and gets her to run away with him. Then, the pair hop on a bus. While sitting at the back of bus, Ben and Elaine initially look elated to finally, officially be together for good. Then their wide, in-love smiles fade as they realise a scary, unknown future looms ahead. The final shot of the movie shows Elaine, still in her wedding dress and massive veil, and Ben looking in completely different directions, more awkward than ever before. No one says anything.
Glow clearly used a lot of that uncomfortable flavour for Ruth’s trip to Las Vegas. She, like Ben and Elaine, is also trapped on a bus heading towards a genuinely mysterious future after a major gamble. Yes, she’s excited to continue on with G.L.O.W., something she sees as her baby and first real passion. That’s why she originally looks so happy to be on her way to Vegas. Then, Ruth tells platonic soulmate Sam she has never been to Sin City, which would shock exactly zero people in the world. “Oh, you’re gonna hate it,” the director replies with a smile. Ruth, an ardent feminist and rule-lover, smiles back… until the light slowly drifts from her eyes. In real time, we watch her comes to terms with what living in a seedy shark tank like Vegas will really mean for her as a person, and what a place like that might do to G.L.O.W.
That’s why the final shot here, like in The Graduate, is Ruth pursing her lips while staring off into the middle distance. Anything, including any bad thing, could be ahead, and Ruth is literally speeding towards it. The feeling of impending doom is all the worse when you realise Ruth chose this path. It would have been very easy for her to stay in Los Angeles, find another acting job, and keep hanging out with her new cameraman boyfriend Russel (Victor Quinaz). But she isn't doing that. She’s going to the land of show girls and sequins.
Ruth’s on-again, off-again best friend Debbie seems to be dealing with a similar amount of emotional turmoil on the bus. Before stepping on, Debbie had a gutting and near-impossible goodbye with her baby son, who will be living with his dad Mark (Mad Men’s Rich Sommer) in L.A. while his mom kicks butt in Las Vegas. Debbie might be thrilled to chase her dreams, but the wrestler is clearly near tears on the bus upon realising all the mom-and-son time she is giving up to do so. At least Debbie has her in-the-ring rival — and in-the-real-world fellow mom friend — Tammé “Welfare Queen” Dawson (Kia Stevens) to hold her hand for some extra strength.
That little gesture likely suggests why Las Vegas won’t be a total nightmare for the ladies. They have each other — and no matter what happens, they’ll pick each other up. Sometimes literally, if you remember everyone loading Ruth into Melrose’s limo during the leg pop crisis.
Ruth is gonna hate Vegas. Debbie is gonna hate Vegas. Sheila The She-Wolf (Gayle Rankin) is definitely gonna hate Vegas. But, they’re gonna love each other enough to make the move worth it. Now if only Netflix will announce Glow season 3, so we can see all the unavoidable madness unfold.